A great email marketing idea recently arrived in my inbox from Carolee's Creations. Essentially they've created a whitepaper to address a common concern for their target audience (In scrapbook speak...they created an idea sheet to help use your stash.) Then they sent out an email blast to let people know the white paper was available. Georgana also posted about it on her blog.
According to Wikipedia, a white paper "is an authoritative report. White papers are used to educate customers, collect leads for a company or help people make decisions." Whitepapers are typically offered by companies as a marketing tool. They are written in article format, presenting a problem, then offering a solution. That solution is usually points to a product or service that the company offers.
In this case, the white paper/tipsheet/idea sheet [PDF] addresses how to get past "Christmas Card Chagrin" - "that sick gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach [when] thinking about the expense" of sending out handmade Christmas cards. The four-page PDF describes creative ways to work past that problem, including specific examples (with sketches) of 15 cards created using one sheet of stickers, four sheets of cardstock, and one stamp (all Carolee's Creation products).
Try this marketing technique yourself! Think about what concerns your target market has, and put together a white paper describing how to solve it, and how you can help. Then send out an email and post to your blog to tell everyone that the paper is available.
A Scrappy Marketer's Hat Tip to Carolee's Creations for this marketing "hat trick" - marketing by white paper, email newsletter, AND blog.